Over the course of this year, we’ve had everything from Riesling to Tempranillo with #WineStudio, the weekly Twitter get-together that’s all about wine education. When it came to the most recent session, it highlighted this little thing you may have heard of called Prosecco. We kicked off September with Nino Franco, a winery founded in 1919 by Antonio Franco in Valdobbiadene, Italy. One of the oldest wineries in this Venetian region, the estate has seen four generations of producers. The coolest thing about the wines we tried is that they all are 100% Glera, a grape which has only claimed this name since 2009. Throughout #WineStudio, we have tasted the same grape from different wineries, grapes from the same region, and a varied few bottles from the same winery; however, I have never done a session where we tasted the same grape from the same producer, and it was a great way to underscore how one varietal from the same appellation can result in such distinct wines. If you didn’t participate, you only have to read about these four I tried to see that this is true.
I will unashamedly open a bottle at 11 a.m. if it’s my day off, and that’s what I did with this first bottle, the Rustico Prosecco Superiore. There was nice creamy texture here that added some depth to the yeasty, fruity, and citrusy flavors that abounded inside the glass. I pulled out a slice of homemade Persian flatbread and threw some whipped cream cheese, capers, tomato, red onion, and lox on it. Yes, we know all probably know that bubbles go well with most seafood, particularly oysters on the half shell, but I had never tried it like this. It was a simple, smart choice for my first pairing; just the way I like it. The winery let us know during the Twitter discussion that this was their most popular bottle, and with the SRP of $19 and the great flavor profile of this one, I can see why. It was my favorite, and a great way to start the two months we would be spending on all things bubbles.
Then, my five day work week turned into a week where I worked nine days in a row, and all my energy went towards just getting my second bottle open. The Brut Prosecco Superiore was very pale in color with flavors that were somewhat sweet with a balancing level of acid. The best part was the dozens of small bubbles that gave this a very light, celebratory feel. If you like the apple or pear or generally fruity profile often associated with Prosecco yet also want something with a bit of linger to it, this is an easy to drink option that demands only your enjoyment. This one is priced slightly above the average Prosecco with an SRP of $27, but it’s worth the few extra dollars. Don’t pass it up.
The third bubbly I opened was the Primo Franco Prosecco Superiore, a sweeter option that appealed to my grandmother’s tastes more than my own. As soon as I had people try this one, they commented the softness of it. There were aromas and flavors of lush, ripe apples like McIntosh with a dash of Granny Smith. Fruity and creamy and smooth, there was still some complexity here that kept this one fun. With an SRP of $29, bring this one out for a party which includes people that gush about moscato or always stand by the sweets. They’ll enjoy it and even you can sip alongside them without feeling like one gulp contains your daily recommended dosage of sugar.
The final bottle came wrapped in gold cellophane with the regal sounding name of 2010 Grave di Stecca Brut Sparkling. While we #WineStudio participants were mixed on our thoughts about this presentation, I loved it. Yes, it was cheesy, but it was also a bit of ridiculous fun. Excitedly, I opened it, poured a glass, and brought it up to my lips. Then, I wished I could rip it away because this was not good. Drier than any of the other Nino Franco bottles we had previously opened, odd is the word that comes to mind now when I recall this one.
The rich, beautiful, marigold color of this wine immediately drew me to the bottle. However, the woodsy aromas and dry taste were not what I was expecting. I had to hunt for the fruit, but there was no denying that there was a fullness to it, some warmth, and eventually flavors of wintery stone fruit with even a hint of pineapple. After some experimenting, I found that this wine absolutely needed food. Most wine tastes better with food, but in general, I am happy to have a glass on it’s own. Do not do that with this one. Whether it’s a cold cut like I chose or tapas or cheeses, have the food on the table before you even open this one. With the heftiest price tag of $49, I would have to say that any basic bubbly drinker should steer clear. It’s not a bottle for the average person, but rather one for someone with an advanced palate that craves the funky stuff.
The bubbles we tried during this session are way better than the ones your mom poured into the tub when you were a kid. For a lot of my friends, Prosecco are meant to be had when we’re celebrating, yet many of these wines are approachable and affordable. They aren’t just for the holidays or when you get a big promotion or when you get into the college you were hoping for, but they’re for everyday celebrations. Bubbles are worthy of your attention, and these bottles demand it. #WineStudio in November just started and is all about New Jersey wines. So join us over there and check back in a couple of weeks for my thoughts on the other Prosecco we tried before the end of October. Happy drinking!
These wines were kindly provided to me by the winery listed above, but all opinions are my own.